APPIANO GENTILE – A busy run of fixtures awaits Inter after the international break but Simone Inzaghi and his men are focused on nothing but their first port of call, Genoa, where they will do battle with Sampdoria at 12:30 on Sunday.
Read on to find out what the boss had to say at his media conference ahead of the Serie A Week 3 clash.
Do you expect to have Lautaro Martinez available to start tomorrow?
“I need to weigh things up and I'll see how the four South Americans look today. I haven't seen [Arturo] Vidal, Lautaro, [Matias] Vecino and [Joaquin] Correa yet. Vidal and the two Argentines came back during the night and Vecino got back this morning. I'll talk to them, they'll have a runout and then I'll decide. I won't have so many options this time but I need to figure out who has recovered best from their international commitments. [Alessandro] Bastoni came back with a niggle. He tried to train yesterday but felt a twinge so he definitely won't be available for tomorrow. He'll have more tests on Monday and hopefully we'll have him back soon. It's a bit of a problem because I don't have much choice in that position. [Aleksandar] Kolarov, [Danilo] D’Ambrosio and [Federico] Dimarco are options. We'll try to decide on the best solution.”
Does the Real Madrid match affect your thinking at all? How is Alexis Sanchez?
“The Real Madrid game is obviously very exciting and the players and I will enjoy it but right now all my thoughts are on Sampdoria. Sanchez has been back in full training the last three or four days. Clearly his fitness is not on a par with the others' but he's working very hard and wants to catch up with the others. He had a nasty recurrence of an injury from the Copa America. If he comes through our last training session ok, he'll be in the squad but then we'll have to take it one game at a time and see how many minutes he's got in him.”
How important is it to start off on the right foot again? Who is your first-choice penalty-taker?
“Our penalty-takers are [Hakan] Calhanoglu and Lautaro – they're both very good. We also have Dimarco, Sanchez and Correa if needed. A fair few options. They sometimes stay behind and practise. This game against Samp is one we've had to prepare for in just a few days and we're obviously affected by the returning international players, but the same goes for all the other clubs. I'll try to take everything into account and decide on the best team today.”
Do you think it's already time to rotate or will you save that for later?
“We have to take each game as it comes. Bastoni would have played tomorrow, for example, especially as we're the team with the most minutes played during the international break and he was only involved in one game. Sadly he didn't come back in the best shape so he can't play tomorrow. I need to speak to the lads, see how they're recovering, the travel time, how much they played, and so on. In any case, tomorrow I'll be thinking of nothing but Sampdoria.”
Inter have scored seven goals through six different players, three of whom are new signings. How is Denzel Dumfries settling in?
“Dumfries is a fantastic player who's joined from a different league. He's slowly learning the language. He went away on international duty, had two good games, came back looking good and trained well yesterday. He's going to be an important player for Inter. We have seven matches to play over the next three weeks so he'll certainly get to play.”
Where are you hoping to see improvement from your players?
“I'm hoping to see improvement in the little time we have to prepare for matches and recover. Motivation is important because when you're motivated it helps you recover more quickly from the fatigue. We had time to prepare for the first two games. Now we have to be good at recovering and preparing for the next one.”
With so many games back to back, what must you not do wrong? How is Stefano Sensi?
“One mistake we mustn't make is thinking about the game after the next one. Tomorrow we're going to Genoa to play Sampdoria, a team who play with great intensity and they'll do everything they can to make it hard for us, so we must focus on nothing but that. Sensi did light training on the first day back and has been able to train well after that. He should be in good condition to play.”
What does Sanchez bring to the table?
“I spoke about Sanchez earlier. It was normal for him not to go on international duty because the first time I saw him back on the pitch was on Wednesday. He's only taken part in four training sessions since 8 August but he's very hard-working and we all know how talented he is. I hope he'll be able to help us from now till the end.”
Do you think you could play three forwards together in some games?
“In certain matches I think that's an extra option we have. Obviously the team have been used to playing a certain way over the last few years and they've continued that this year, playing with two forwards, but I don't see why we can't add Sanchez in behind the front two.”
The Curva Nord called out your name in the 23rd minute of Inter v Genoa,. Is that when you really felt like the Inter coach?
“Actually, it was before the Genoa match. On the day of my first press conference, before the conference itself, the Curva gave me a great welcome. Coaches are judged by their results of course but it was nice to be given such a welcome by the Nerazzurri fans. They've always been behind the team and I thanked them at Verona because they kept supporting us and helped us to turn it around.”
The club decided to keep Martin Satriano here. Do you see him as a player who could be rotated?
“Yes, we kept him because he showed he can hold his own in this squad. He has incredible strength and a great work ethic. The other forwards obviously have a career behind them but he just has to keep his head down and keep working away. He deserved his debut against Genoa. We have lots of matches coming up and we'll see how to use him.”